remington-keywound-triple-chime-mantel-clock-by-hermle-2-1.gifPortlaoise GFS had its end-of-season bash last night. Terrific! The star event was the dance routine. On the stage behind us, the dance teacher was strutting her stuff for the girls in front of us to follow. After a few minutes I became aware of a small commotion behind me. The girls’ infant sisters and brothers were themselves ‘copying’ the teacher—that is to say, jiggling about with giggles and fallings-over and great glee. It was all quite wonderful.

A three-tiered performance of leader at the back, performers in front, and uninhibited joyful randomness between says something profound about life, the universe and everything. Maybe an improvement on Plato’s cave allegory that I need to tease out a bit.

As a leaving present the GFS gave me a mantelpiece clock with Roman numerals (including IIII instead of IV, very proper) duly inscribed for SWMBO and me on the back. Lovely. In turn, I thanked them not only for the present, but also for simply being. As with students at Maryborough School, I feel as if I’m at their level and they at mine. Heart speaks to heart when we get together. I treat them as colleagues, they respond as colleagues. This isn’t always the case with congregations. A clerical neighbour has twice berated me for looking on them as colleagues: he says I should look on them as children. Try as I might, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Is it that there’s something deeply infantilizing about attending church? Actually, this is now widely accepted, so there’s no question about it. There’s a container in the church porch for people to put their brains in as they arrive.

Is it that there’s something deeply infantilizing about adulthood? It’s certainly the case that the education system results in people knowing more and more about less and less. Vision becomes more and more restricted. You see this medical education: I regarded it as my job to help remove blinkers. Still do. ‘Education is what’s left after you’ve forgotten what you learned at school.’

Maybe it’s quite simply that I’ve never grown up. Yes, that’s it! My aim is to immature with age. This is why I’m not old enough to play golf.

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